Quick Links & Contacts

ACS

Office of Advocacy
212-676-9421

PYA Goals

EDUCATION

Alternative Schools
GED Programs
Scholarships & ETVs

New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.

HOUSING

Finding an Apartment
Emergency Services

JOBS

Summer Jobs

SEXUALITY

Morning After Pill info
1-888-NOT-2-LATE

HEALTH

Citywide Clinic List

New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.

MENTAL HEALTH

Suicide Hotline
212-673-3000

LifeNet Referrals
(24 hours)
1-800-543-3638 (English)
1-877-298-3373 (Spanish)
1-877-990-8585 (Mandarin/Cantonese)

Visit www.nyc.gov/teen and click on "Dating and Friends" and "Feeling Stressed" to learn more.

SPECIAL RESOURCES
Youth In Progress

Hotlines (dating violence, housing, mental health)

ADVOCACY

Legal
Lawyers for Children
1-800-244-2540

Legal Aid (call the office in the borough where you lived when you first went into foster care)
Bronx: 718-579-7900
Brooklyn: 718-237-7100
Manhattan: 212-312-2260
Queens: 718-298-8900
Staten Isl.: 718-981-0219

Education/Special Ed
Advocates for Children
212-947-9779

Legal Aid Society’s Education Advocacy Project
212-577-3342

ETVs (Educational and Training Vouchers)

Featured Story

Finding  My Way Home
image by YC
Finding My Way Home

The first time I remember having issues with eating was after a comment my dad made. I forget how old I was but I remember his words like it was yesterday. He said, “If you keep eating like that you will end up looking like your mother.”

To me, that meant I’d end up fat and couch-bound with no one to love me. At the time, my father was sexually abusing me and my mother was letting it happen. When my dad made that comment I felt like he was a fortune teller. He was reading my future and my body was his concern.

After that I changed my eating habits in lots of small ways. I began to limit the amount I would place on my plate compared to my mom. Sometimes I would skip meals, and it was around this time that I had my first few laxatives.

When I was 13 I lost a lot of weight. I began to go out for daily runs, and I started to do a lot of sit-ups and push-ups, even lifting phone books to reduce the fat in my arms. At first, I was just trying to stop my depression about what was going on at home.

Controlling my weight gave me some stability. If my mom started her speech about me stealing her husband away, I couldn’t speak back because of my fear of being punished by her and then by my dad. But I’d go into my room and do sit-ups or spit out my food. It was like getting back at them both. Only they didn’t notice I was deteriorating.

When I finally told my godmother about the abuse, my sister and I were put in foster care.

My Secret

My struggles with eating went up and down for the next couple years. I’d eat for a few days, then go on what I called my fasting period. At times I had a normal appetite. But when certain fatty foods were placed in front of me, I’d say to myself, “Think of how many calories you’re about to eat,” or, “Look at the amount your sister has on her plate. You’re going to be the fat one.” I wanted and needed to keep myself the slender one, the one who might not be as smart but who has the better body, the most self-discipline.

Moving from one home to the next made it easy to cover up what I was doing. No one took the time out to notice what was going on, and somehow I enjoyed that. My eating disorder was a secret I could keep to myself.

In Charge of My Body

When I was 16 I moved to a group home and my eating disorder became full-blown. I think it was the freedom of making my own plate of food. I could put any amount I wanted on the plate and no one could say anything. . .

[read more]